As I sit out on the balcony this morning, the bells from the Duomo (cathedral) are ringing. It is a European and Italian sound that hopefully will endure the ages. Our stay in Como has been wonderful. We have a great view – which, of course means a “great” climb. Yesterday we decided to go to Bellagio and then to cruise across to Varenna. As we had hired a car in Venice to travel across to Como, we thought “why not drive?”. Having driven the 37.5 kilometre trip which took the best part of an hour, I can give you an endless list of reasons not to drive! And in fact, we were talking to our Airbnb host, Edo, after we returned and he couldn’t believe I drove there and back.
Anyway, here’s my top 3 reasons why not to drive from Como to Bellagio:
1. The roads are narrower than you can ever imagine in all the small towns you pass through.
2. No matter how hard I tried, it’s really difficult to gauge the proximity to the right, causing my ever-patient navigator to say on a few occasions “you’re a bit too close” which is code for “you are about to make contact with a rock wall/guard rail/parked car/building”
3. there’s a bus and a boat, people!
And here’s Edo’s top reason not to drive – Italian drivers.
I was so busy driving that I didn’t have the chance to take a photo of the streets I drove on but that didn’t stop the car in front of me, slowing down to a stop and putting their camera out the window as they then drove on.
What I can say is that a trip on Lake Como, no matter where you start is worth it. If you imagine an upside-down “Y”, Como is at the south-western end of the lake and as you go further up, the other branch joins up and you see the snow-peaked alps to the north – simply breathtaking. Here is the view at Bellagio. Isabella – Edo’s wife – recommended Varenna as the destination so off we went on a ferry.
Our trip on the water was a series of picture-perfect experiences and the weather couldn’t have been better.
At Varenna I suggested a walk away from the pier to find a less touristy place for lunch – turns out there isn’t any so back down the hill we came to a lovely terrace. Here is the view from our table.
After lunch we wandered along the shoreline to walk off a few calories – for Tony and me this meant walking off pizzocheri which is a dish of buckwheat pasta from the north of Italy from where my father’s family comes.
My instinct tells me this little shop was selling lavender-related goods.
Then it was back on the ferry for our return trip to Bellagio – I couldn’t wait to get behind the steering wheel again!
What a fabulous day. Our host, Edo, lives downstairs and he popped in to give us some information. He had kindly given us a bottle of his favourite red wine – Montalcino – and so we shared a drink with him and learned about his and Isabella’s life. This has been one of the best Airbnb experiences we have had. Then to finish the night looking out to the dusk lights of Como – perfetto!